Posts tagged ‘dialogue’

July 26, 2013

Quote of the Day: David Mamet

A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue.

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April 24, 2013

Quote of the Day: Brad Bird

A screenwriter friend of mine said your number one goal is to get to the end. So write it fast; don’t look back. If you have to have characters yak about something and you don’t have a solution, do it anyway and let it suck. Then go back over it in a couple of weeks, and you’ll be much clearer on what’s strong and what’s not strong and then attack the ones that are too verbose. At least you’ll have a laundry list of things the audience needs to know—but don’t hang up on finding the visual solution and not move forward on your screenplay.

August 24, 2012

Quote of the Day: Alfred Hitchcock

Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms. 

February 17, 2012

John Truby on Story

Inktip recently interviewed John Truby, one of the most highly respected and sought-out screenwriting instructors / script consultants in the business. Here’s what they talked about:

Question: What questions should a writer ask him or herself prior to crafting their story?

John Truby: Most writers can’t tell at the premise stage whether they’ve got a good story because they don’t have the training to see the deep structural problems in the idea before writing it as a script.
The extraordinary fact is 99% of writers fail at the premise. This is the great unknown gatekeeper that keeps most writers from being successful. If you screw up the premise, nothing you do later in the writing process will make any difference. The game’s already over.

The biggest mistakes writers make at the premise:

1. The idea is not original.
2. The idea doesn’t have a clear desire line for the hero that extends throughout the story.
3. The idea doesn’t have a strong main opponent.

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February 10, 2012

Audiences Don’t Listen to Dialogue

Jacob Krueger has written a great article about dialogue and how, for the most part, audiences don’t really listen to it. Just watch The Artist to see how unnecessary most dialogue is. That isn’t to say that great dialogue isn’t a key component of great scripts. I’ll let Jacob explain:

Remember the first scene of The Social Network? Aaron Sorkin’s spitfire banter ricocheting at high velocity between Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend Erica.

The scene is so brilliantly written, you probably barely noticed that you didn’t understand half of what these characters were saying to each other!

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August 29, 2011

Creating Drama in a Talking Head Scene

This article by Hal Croasmun of ScreenwritingU gives insight into how to create drama in a scene that is primarily or even entirely composed of dialogue:

I’d like to take a look at how a talking heads scene might work by creating deeper meaning in the dialogue.

I’ll give you the punchline in advance. The key to your success when writing a talking heads scene is to deliver meaning, emotion, and entertainment — not exposition.

Keep reminding yourself that every scene in a script MUST entertain the audience in some way. So, if 95% of the scene consists of dialogue, that dialogue has to be entertaining, emotional, and deliver some powerful meaning.

To illustrate this, I’d like to use the famous “You had me at hello” scene from the movie JERRY MAGUIRE. In it, you’ll see that many different skills have been used to turn a talking heads scene into a total tear jerker.

To set this scene up…

We’re at the very end of the movie. Jerry has achieved his external goal of having his only client succeed. But there is an internal question about whether he can love anyone or not.

Read more here.

July 20, 2011

Quote of the Day: Fred Zinnemann

Dialogue is a necessary evil.

April 13, 2011

Finding Your Voice as a Writer

The Script Lab posted this great article on finding your voice as a screenwriter, not to be confused with the voices you give your characters in their dialogue. This article is about your voice as a storyteller:

The writing itself is for the artist to do; there are no rules, no magic recipes to apply, no golden ticket. But all good writing has a distinct voice. Why read one columnist over another in the Sunday Times? It almost always comes down to that writer’s original voice. The way two or more writers would describe the same element in a script might be quite different, yet they all could accomplish the writing objective with equal quality. 

“Words are the voice of the heart.” – Confucious

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